Parisian Living

All I Want for Christmas is… Paris

by Lindsay D'Souza

With the Christmas season upon us, and many gift exchanges ahead, I’ve been thinking about what to include on my wish list this year. Staring at the empty notepad, I continue to draw a blank. I have everything I need, and having spent so much time at home over the last two years, I’m unsure of anything I would want. It then occurs to me that what I would actually wish for can’t be bought in a store and put under the tree.

My wish list only has one thing on it. And what is that one thing you ask? It’s to once again be in the beautiful city of Paris. Having lived there in 2019, my memories are still fond, and if Santa gifted me the opportunity to fly out of Toronto and go back and relive some of my favorite days, here is everything I would want to do:

on the left are the pillars of the courtyard in Jardin du Palais-Royal and on the right are sparkly lights and christmas decorations from inside the department store of Le Bon Marché
Top: Le Perchoir Left: @andi_fisher / Right: @lebonmarcherivegauche

Mornings with Isabelle

My ideal morning would consist of waking up in my aunt and uncle’s apartment in the 6th arrondissement and taking a walk with them along Boulevard Saint-Germain until we reach what I consider the best croissant in the city, La Maison d’Isabelle. I’m in pastry heaven as the layers of dough crinkle underneath my lips. It’s the perfect way to start any day. I always find a little home away from home at Isabelle’s. Just to the left of Maison d’Isabelle is the Fromagerie Laurent Dubois. A creamy brie is a delicious pairing for freshly baked croissants, and is definitely a breakfast craving I wish to satisfy once again.

on the left is a hand holding a croissant and on the right is the terrace of Le Nemours Café with patio chairs and umbrellas
Left: @maison_isabelle / Right: @javiernapi

Breizh Café

My aunt first introduced me to this Bréton-style crêperie on one of our special nights out for dinner. I was impressed by the creativity and vast range of menu items, and was further satisfied when my food was brought to the table. Cooked to perfection, this quickly became one of my favorite restaurants to dine at any time of day and for any occasion, and I even introduced it to some of my friends. With an eclectic menu of crêpes, galettes, and cider, Breizh Café has got it all for a unique and filling meal. If I were to be asked to go again, I wouldn’t hesitate! A quick phone call to my friend Mathilde, and a short metro ride away, I dream of lunching and laughing with her about all our stories once again over a savory galette.

on the left is a savory galette from Breizh Café with prossiutto and egg, and on the right is people sitting on the terrace of Le Nemours Café
Left: @breizhcafe_fr / Right: @cestmaikka

Here are some other Paris foodie experiences I’m missing: Café Cassette for its floral ambiance, Ralph’s for its caramelized popcorn and warmly decorated interior, and TranTranZai for some homemade Sichuan noodles and modern Chinese art.

on the left is the exterior of Ralph's Cafe with christmas decorations and a green coffee truck. On the right is the interior of Ralph's with a beautiful wood bar
Left: @emilytaubert / Right: @monblogdefille
2 people eating a bowl of steaming hot brown noodles from TranTranZai

Le Perchoir Marais

One night after exploring one of my favorite districts, Le Marais, alongside my friend Audrey, we met up with our friend Sarah and we had a girl’s night out atop the BHV at Le Perchoir Marais. The view from the top is incredible! The Eiffel Tower sparkles in the distance on the hour, and the lights of the city cast shadows around Hôtel de Ville and Île Saint-Louis. With both an interior and terrace, you can choose a spot for the night that is quiet and cozy, or go for a more social and music-driven scene. Seeing all my Québec friends again is definitely on my to-do list, and what better a place to go out than in our favorite French city?

The rooftop of Le Perchoir Marais with a crowd of people and a sunset orange sky in the background
Le Perchoir Marais by Baptiste Guépin

Rue de Buci

It’s hard to explain, but Rue de Buci, is one of those streets I long to stroll time and again. While not very long, the little hidden wrap-around street contains several cafés and shops, and is in the heart of Saint-Germain. A short walk away from my aunt and uncle’s apartment, accessible from métro Odéon, and close to my friend’s studio, Katie Donnelly Photography, I have everything I need at arms-length from this one little area. Not to mention a picture-perfect spot for brunch, Maison Sauvage, whose popularity also means there is always a line, but I now know to arrive early.

A photo of photographer Katie Donnelly in her studio. She wears a white shirt and orange-brown pants and her studio has big green doors.
Photos of @katiedonnelly_ taken by @everydayparisian

Lounge in Jardin du Palais-Royal

I’m not sure exactly what it is about Jardin du Palais Royal. Maybe the children running around the Colonnes de Buren art installation or the intimate feeling of the garden, but this is a must-see when I visit Paris again. It’s an ideal location to bring a book, and a place where I just want to cozy up on one of the green lawn chairs around the fountains for hours. It brings me such peace to just sit, enjoy a little bit of nature in the city, and recharge. If I’m feeling like a café and a different view for people watching, the terrace of Le Nemours, which is just next door, fulfills all the Parisian vibes I continue to search for in my everyday life.

Dreaming of Paris is part of my daily routine. The streets, the cafés, the people-watching, and best of all, afternoon tea with my aunt and a French pâtisserie. So, Santa, if you’re reading this, a little Christmas magic to send me back to my favorite city would be much appreciated!

On the left is a group of people sitting on the terrace of Maison Sauvage eating their brunch. On the left is a pink cocktail on a table with an orange slice in the glass
Left: @maisonsauvageparis / Right: Le Perchoir Marais

Maison d’Isabelle – 47ter Bd Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris

Breizh Café – 1 Rue de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris

Café Cassette – 73 Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris

Ralph’s – 173 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

TranTranZai – 3 Rue de l’École Polytechnique, 75005 Paris

Le Perchoir Marais – 33 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris

Katie Donnelly Photography – 12 Rue de l’Éperon, 75006 Paris

Maison Sauvage – 5 Rue de Buci, 75006 Paris

Jardin du Palais-Royal – 43 Rue de Valois, 75001 Paris

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Written by Lindsay D’Souza for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Lindsay D'Souza

Lindsay is from Toronto, Canada, where she studied English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University and later completed a Masters in Higher Education at the University of Toronto. She moved to Paris to submerge herself in life as an expat. Lindsay loves traveling and exploring new restaurants, photography, and buying fresh croissants from Maison d'Isabelle with her aunt. View Lindsay D'Souza's Website

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